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Twenty tips for a better citizen canine

Modern Hound is officially six weeks old! In honor of our anniversary, I’ve pulled together the first twenty tips for a better citizen canine from our Facebook page:

Tip #1: Does your dog get upset when you leave the house? Next time, instead of showing your dog how much you love him right before leaving, slip out the door without a word. By decreasing the contrast between when you are home, giving your dog all your attention, and when you are away, your absence will be less alarming.

Tip #2: It is not cheating to use treats to reinforce things your dog has already learned! Go ahead, put a few in your pocket before you go out for a walk, and see how your dog puts on their best behavior.

Tip #3: Does your dog get destructive when you leave him alone for long periods of time? Try planting hollow Kong-type toys filled with dog treats around the house before you leave. Not only will he sniff them out and keep himself busy, he will give his doggy brain a great workout by using one of his most important senses!

Tip #4: If your dog barks at you for treats, to open the door or for attention, IGNORE HIM! If you respond, you are teaching him that barking is a good way to get what he wants.

Tip #5: If your dog has an itchy spot, or mange, try fish oil. It’s super hydrating and will help him develop important essential oils to keep the itching down. Buy a bottle of fish oil liquid gel vitamins from the drug or grocery store, cut one open, and put the liquid directly on the spot or brush it through his coat. Fish oil is also sometimes sold in liquid form.

Tip #6: Growling and barking are natural forms of canine communication. When a dog is punished for these behaviors, they may think they have to work harder to get their point across – whether it’s “Back off!” or “Pay attention to me!!”. For more info on barking check out

Tip #7: Never punish your dog for something they have done when you were out. Shoving your dog’s nose into the poo he left on the rug only teaches him to fear you when you return home. It does NOT teach him that pooing in the house is wrong.

Tip #8: When you meet an unfamiliar dog, let him sniff the top of your hand, then pet in under the chin INSTEAD of on top of the head. In dog language, a pet on top of the head by a stranger could be misinterpreted as an agressive act.

Tip #9: It happens to all pups at some time, dreaded diarrhea – hard to look at, even harder to clean up. If your dog’s having a bout, try feeding him a combination of white rice, cottage cheese, and boiled chicken for three to four days to ease digestion and make things solid once again!

Tip #10: When you bring a new dog home, don’t leave him alone with your other pets for at least 72 hours. Put your other animals in a safe room or separate them with a baby gate until you get home. For more tips on new pet introductions, take a look at today’s blog!

Tip #11: Does your dog get overly excited when you or a guest walks in the front door? Teach your pup not to jump all over you by turning your back and refusing to engage with him until he’s got all four paws on the floor!

Tip #12: Dogs can become senile just like humans so it is important to keep their minds working as they age. Try varying your walking route or visiting different parks. The new scents and change of scenery will force your dog to think instead of just walk or play in automatic mode.

Tip #13: If your dogs get into a fight at home, do not put them in seperate areas and run back to check on the weaker dog after the fight is over. This shows the dog struggling for dominance that they have failed to establish their position in the pack and makes another fight inevitable.

Tip #14: Chocolate isn’t the only delicious treat that is poisonous for dogs. Grapes, macadamia nuts, and onions are all dangerous culprits. For a full list, check out !

Tip #15: If your dog compulsively licks his paws, try lowering his stress, increasing his activity level, and changing his diet to a higher quality product.

Tip #16: Having trouble getting your dog to come when he’s off leash? Instead of threatening him by yelling his name or a command, try calling to him with happy tones and using a short, sharp, tone – like a kissing sound – to call him back to you. When he returns, immediately offer him a treat. Make the action of coming to you more fun than whatever he was doing before!

Tip #17: Has your dog ever peed on a guest? It’s not because he doesn’t like him or that he is angry – your dog is just saying, “I’m the boss here.”

Tip #18: If your dog pulls too much on the leash, try red-light-green-light:
Stop each time he pulls and don’t move forward until he has relaxed and stopped straining against the lead. When he learns you won’t move forward unless he is relaxed, the pulling will decrease!

Tip #19: If you are in a stressful situation (like at the vet’s office), don’t pat your dog, give him long gentle strokes to calm him down. Patting is a jarring movement but stroking mimics the action of a mother’s tongue on a puppy.

Tip #20: Having trouble getting your dog to heel? Try ditching that retractable leash. With such a long lead, the dog will naturally pull all the way to the end. On a shorter, single length leash, your pup’s got no choice but to stay close.

For more tips and facts on dogs, dog training, and animal resuce, “like” us at!

Art by Carin Steen. Commission a portrait of your pet at ModernHound on Etsy!


The joys of dehydrated food

Don't be fooled by the look of it, this food is great!

After Franny’s cancer was diagnosed I started to think more about providing her with the best nutrition I could in order to keep her body running well until the end. Since I took her as a foster dog her stool had been overly soft and frequent. She was eating a high quality dry kibble and a bit of wet dog food formulated for senior dogs with which I could make some medication meatballs. Then one day, after a visit to Muttville headquarters, Anne Lauck sent us home with a bag full of free samples from The Honest Kitchen. I began making the switch that evening – mixing some of the dry kibble with the dehydrated food so as not to agitate her stomach. She loved it! With the dry kibble, she would eat half and leave the rest for later; the dehydrated food was literally gone in seconds. Within 48 hours, Franny’s stool was completely solid, healthy, and less frequent. The food – which combines human-grade quality meat, veggies, fruits, gluten-free grain, and vitamins – is gentle enough that we can continue to use it, even as her stomach cancer becomes more severe, by mixing it increasingly with white rice, cottage cheese, and boiled chicken.

If your dog is older or sick, give The Honest Kitchen a try. It comes in several different varieties and is available at Pet Food Express in the Bay Area (among other locations) and online at

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